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Staffing News Online

NJSA's Staffing News Online is a monthly e-newsletter that is available to the staffing industry.  The content for Staffing News Online comes directly from our industry partners.  If you are an NJSA industry partner and would like to submit content for Staffing News Online, please email office@njsa.com with your article.

  • Thursday, May 27, 2021 11:23 AM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    Submitted by Access Capital

    Our world is increasingly influenced by our digital culture. Whether you need to restock household groceries or arrange a driver for your next flight you are most likely using an app on your phone. While convenient and efficient, the increased use of technology to run our day-to-day lives seems to have created gaps in communication and social interactions. A culture of people swiping left to find their dates has led to changes to certain social mores.

    What was once a term applied only to modern dating, “ghosting” can now be used to describe other areas of social interaction. When you get ghosted, the person with whom you’ve been dating cuts off all communication with you with no warning. You don’t even get the benefit of the “it’s not you, it’s me” speech when someone ghosts you. There’s just radio silence and perhaps a feeling of rejection on the side of the “ghostee.” Not a great way to end a relationship is it? Ghosting has become so prevalent that even the New York Times explored the phenomenon. And now, we are seeing that ghosting has found its way into the workplace with regards to candidate behavior. More and more recruiters and employers are being ghosted by candidates. Sometimes for interviews and even for the first day of an assignment!

    With the ongoing expansion if unemployment benefits in our post-COVID existence, candidates are empowered and can afford to be finicky about their next project. Some are simply blowing off interviews or becoming no-show employees when day one of a new assignment arrives. For recruiters, this poses a major disruption to fulfilling client needs and has the potential to negatively affect your relationships with your clients.

    If a behavior like ghosting manifests en masse, how can we combat it? The key seems to be to ensure you take good care of your candidates - be sure to keep the lines of communication open and touch base often.

    Address the Elephant (Ghost) in the Room: Communicate clearly about ghosting. If you broach the topic upfront with candidates, you may help mitigate the likelihood of being ghosted. Create a safe space for communication and encourage your candidate to let you know if they’ve decided to take another offer. Take the perceived stigma out of telling a recruiter no. In other words, make it okay for a candidate to refuse an offer or change his or her mind with you and chances are, they will be forthcoming with you.

    Engage and Inform: Just as it’s frustrating for a recruiter to suddenly lose communication with a candidate, potential employees appreciate ongoing communication at each stage of the recruiting process. When working with a candidate, be sure to provide status updates and a timeline for the process so there is no uncertainty. If a candidate feels informed by a recruiter, they will feel valued and may be less likely to disappoint you when it’s time to meet with your client. Also consider working to have less lead up time until the start date. In the days leading up to the start date, send info about the new company to your candidate and see if you can connect your candidate to someone at the new employer sooner to help establish a connection before your candidate’s first day. This will lessen the threat of your candidate going elsewhere or abandoning the assignment altogether.

    An informed and well-tended to candidate will be less likely to stray than one who hasn’t heard from a recruiter in weeks. Providing a positive experience for your candidate will help ensure they follow through with you and show up for your clients. It will take some extra care but you will appreciate the benefit of a forthcoming candidate. While we may not be able to halt the social phenomenon of ghosting, we can at least work with it and try our best to not fall victim to it.

    About Access Capital:

    Access Capital is a privately held non-bank lender that has been supporting the growth of staffing companies and other entrepreneurial enterprises for thirty five years. Headquartered in New York, Access Capital offers asset based lending and acquisition financing services to staffing companies nationwide.

    Learn more about how we can work together to support your success by calling us at (212) 644-9300


  • Thursday, May 27, 2021 11:21 AM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    Submitted by Avionte

    In my last blog, I discussed my post-pandemic labor market predictions and how major labor shortages in the US are being driven by critical socio-demographic trends and an aging U.S. workforce. Now, let’s examine strategies to overcome the labor shortage in the US that will challenge staffing firms in the coming years.

    Strategies for Staffing Companies to Deal with Labor Shortages

    Due to the US labor shortage, you should expect your recruiters will work harder to find fewer new candidates. Cutting-edge ATS software technology with sophisticated multichannel communications will be a fundamental requirement to operate a staffing firm, but even the best technology can’t find people who don’t exist. Here are strategies your firm can implement to overcome the labor shortage and win in a competitive market.

    Redefine the recruiting role

    Recruiters will become talent managers. Your best recruiters will cultivate an ongoing community of talent, even for hourly contingent work. Your most important asset is the database of talent you already have in your system today. The staffing companies that succeed in this rapidly changing labor environment will figure out how to engage, motivate, retain, and retrain the staff they manage today.

    Invest in Employee Development, Training and Retention

    If you have reliable employees, you can retrain them to handle a variety of assignments. This process will help you generate substantially more billings per employee. Not only will this investment benefit your business, but working to develop engaged workers will demonstrate your loyalty and improve retention. Investing in employee incentive programs will also allow you to retain your most dependable employees.

    Embrace Diversity and Cultivate Community

    Your talent community will rapidly become far more diverse than it is even today. Creating an inclusive and welcoming environment (physical or virtual) will be a core business requirement to assess, engage, and train candidates from a wide variety of backgrounds.

    Prepare for wage inflation

    With or without legislative intervention, the simple law of supply and demand will inexorably put pressure on wages. This is especially true for work that requires regular, defined work hours, on-site presence, and physical labor. You may have difficult discussions with your most price-sensitive clients as they grapple with the choice of higher hourly rates or doing without the labor they need. You may also need to find transportation and dependent care solutions that enable workers to actually show up.

    Redesign your business for speed

    Speed is everything. Your team and your technology will have to be laser-focused on cutting the transaction time from client requisition to on-site arrival of reliable workers. Over the next few years, staffing turnaround time will be measured in minutes and hours, not days and weeks. Audit and rethink your processes to be built based on short, rapid transactions. This will require you to rethink your technology, employment practices, workflow, and vendor relations to ensure your team is working as efficiently as possible.

    Conclusions

    The bottom line is that the value proposition for temporary and contingent staffing is changing. Wage arbitrage, the difference in cost between full time labor and contingent labor, will shrink. The real value will come from providing reliable temporary workers on demand, as part of an employer’s overall workforce strategy. Value creation comes from using labor hours exactly when and where they are most needed rather than because they are cheaper.

    About the Author

    Christopher Ryan is Avionté’s Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer. Chris has more than three decades of experience of consulting, thought leadership, and corporate experience in Human Capital Management. Chris has extensive experience speaking on a broad range of HCM topics, including HR Strategy, Regulatory Risk, and HR Technology. His key areas of focus include U.S. Labor Trends, employment practices, and workforce management. Chris has also written and spoken extensively about part-time and temporary workers, employee retention, gender pay equity, emerging trends in compensation, U.S. labor shortages, and the economic impact of the Affordable Care Act. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago with a B.A. in physics and holds an MBA in marketing and management policy from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

    Click here to download the article as a PDF.

  • Thursday, May 27, 2021 10:58 AM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    Submitted by Haley Marketing

    During a recent episode of InSights, I had the pleasure of talking with hosts Brad Bialy and Matt Lozar about Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. It was a crash course on “everything PPC” and we discussed key insights into the vital role it plays for staffing agencies.

    Click here to download the article.


  • Friday, April 30, 2021 1:57 PM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    Submitted by Becker LLC

    On March 29, 2021, Florida passed a bill (SB72) providing liability protections to various businesses with regard to COVID-19 exposure claims, joining a list of growing states, including, Michigan, Georgia, and Ohio, to pass some form of liability protection for businesses.

    With specific regard to the Florida bill, in order for a plaintiff to bring a claim against a business for a COVID-19 related claim for damages, injury, or death, the bill creates a heightened pleading standard in that at the time of filing the complaint the plaintiff must also submit an affidavit from an actively licensed physician in Florida, attesting that, with a reasonable degree of medical certainty, the plaintiff’s claim for damages, injury or death occurred as a result of a business’s acts or omissions.

    In addition to determining whether the plaintiff complied with the foregoing, the court must also make an initial finding as to whether the business “made a good faith effort to substantially comply with authoritative or controlling government-issued health standards or guidance at the time the cause of action accrued.” Notably, not all issued standards or guidance must be complied with, so long as a good faith effort was made to substantially comply with one set of standards or guidance which were authoritative or controlling at the time the cause of action arose. If the court finds the business made the foregoing good faith effort, the business is immune from liability.

    Further, the burden falls squarely on the plaintiff to show the business did not make a good faith effort to comply with the applicable standards or guidance. If a plaintiff can show this, the plaintiff’s claim still may be subject to dismissal. Specifically, if the court finds the business was not at least grossly negligent by clear and convincing evidence (an extremely high standard), the business will not be liable for the claim.

    Finally, a complainant must bring the complaint within one (1) year of the time that the cause of action accrued, or if the cause of action accrued prior to the passage of the bill, then within one (1) year of passage.

    About Becker LLC:

    Becker LLC is a premiere mid-market firm recognized as a leader in the Staffing Industry. With offices in New York, California, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, the firm provides forward thinking, mission-critical advice to staffing industry entrepreneurs and management on high stakes, complex legal matters as well as day-to-day matters and long-term plans. The firm are proud to be members of the following Staffing Associations: TechServe Alliance, SIA, ASA, ASG, TempNet, CSP, MSA, NJSA, NYSA and serves as general counsel to the Mid Atlantic Staffing Association.

    For more information, call (973) 422-1100, visit us on the web: https://www.becker.legal/


  • Friday, April 30, 2021 1:55 PM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    Submitted by Becker LLC

    As COVID-19 vaccine rollouts become more prevalent in New Jersey, both employers and employees are faced with the reality that a return to the “normal” workplace is on the horizon. Faced with this prospect, many have asked if employers can mandate employee vaccinations. The short answer, like most legal inquiries, is “yes, subject to some exceptions”.

    New Jersey, following the general rules set forth by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, recently issued guidance that employers can require employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in order to return to the workplace unless three narrow exceptions apply:

    • The employee has a disability precluding them from getting the COVID-19 vaccine;
    • The employee has been advised by a doctor not to get the vaccine while pregnant or breastfeeding; or
    • The employee has a sincerely held religious cause precluding them from getting the vaccine.

    If an employee falls within one of these three exemption categories, their employer must provide a reasonable accommodation from its mandatory vaccine policy, unless such accommodation would impose undue burden on its business operations.

    In typical fashion there are exceptions to these exceptions. While employers must ensure all employee medical information remains confidential, employers may request medical documentation to confirm a disability or medical guidance preventing the employee from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.  Employers may also make a limited inquiry into the facts and circumstances supporting an employee’s request for a religious exemption from the vaccination if the employer has an “objective basis” for questioning either the religious nature or the sincerity of a particular religious belief, practice, or observance. This is a qualifier to the general rule that employers may not question the sincerity of an employee’s religious beliefs, practices, or observances.

    In the event an employee is exempted from mandatory vaccination, what qualifies as a reasonable accommodation? Generally, the most common accommodation would be to allow the employee to continue to work remotely, or to otherwise work in a manner that would reduce or eliminate the risk of harm to other people in the workplace. Other accommodations may include the provision of personal protective equipment. If no reasonable accommodation can be made to mitigate the risks associated with COVID-19 transmission, an employer may exclude unvaccinated employees from the workplace, even if the employee is not vaccinated for medical or religious reasons.

    About Becker

    Becker LLC is a premier mid-market firm with offices in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia and California. The firm provides the complete spectrum of legal services from litigation, transactional, labor and employment, and bankruptcy law counseling, to intellectual property, real estate and construction law related advice. Our size and regional footprint allows us to provide sophisticated services in a manner not only focused on results, but also on our client’s return on their investment.

    For more information, call (973) 422-1100, visit us on the web: https://www.becker.legal/


  • Friday, April 30, 2021 1:52 PM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    Submitted by Avionte

    We all want normalcy, and we finally have reason for optimism. Vaccination rates are increasing. Workplaces and schools are returning to on-site activities. Americans who were fortunate enough to remain employed through the pandemic have increased their personal savings. There is a strong sentiment among leaders that the U.S. economy will rebound briskly in the second half of 2021. New numbers published by Staffing Industry Analysts show staffing revenues have increased by over 10% year over year. Pundits and consultants have started talking about “the new normal.” But don’t expect normal and assume a return to business as usual. Here are my post-pandemic labor market predictions that we are likely to see over the next five years.

    Post-Pandemic Labor Market Predictions

    For starters, demand for critical IT and professional skills never really took a breather during the pandemic. Banks, Insurance Companies, and Technology firms continue to fight for qualified professional staff as baby boomers have exited the workforce.

    But an even bigger challenge looms for staffing hourly workers across Clerical, Light Industrial, Construction, and Business Services. In February, manufacturing backlogs rose by over 4%. Anecdotally, we hear U.S. manufacturers complaining that they could grow faster if they could find the right people. A quick scan of Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Openings data shows that there are still over 6 million unfilled job positions in the United States, with fewer than 1.6 unemployed persons per open job. The growing labor shortages are so severe that the Biden administration is quietly studying the issue.

    We are one year into a pandemic where we have lost 9.5 million jobs, and the U.S. unemployment rate remains 50% higher than in February 2020. There should be plenty of motivated applicants for full and part-time work. So why is it so hard to find qualified workers?

    Labor Shortages in the United States

    The U.S. has been facing labor shortages for several years leading up to February 2020. The pandemic itself provides a partial explanation for labor shortages. Many potential workers are reluctant to take on-site work during the pandemic. Older workers as well as individuals living with a medically vulnerable family member are reluctant to expose themselves to infection.

    Similarly, parents with young children attending virtual classrooms may not be able to leave home for work. While the pandemic had a severe direct economic impact to workers in key industry sectors, it has also acted as an accelerant to broader workforce trends—on-line retail, remote work, growth of technology infrastructure, Gig work, multigenerational households, and remote relocation. This pandemic will pass but the labor shortages will persist.

    Reasons Driving the US Labor Shortage

    Ultimately, the issue comes down to workforce socio-demographics in the United States. There is a fundamental mismatch between people, work opportunities, and skill requirements. We have an aging workforce with more single households and more dependents per working-age adult than at any point in our recent history. Additionally, U.S. job growth has accelerated in high-cost urban tech corridors and in cities, at the expense of rural and ex-urban locations. Available pools of U.S. workers are less likely to live near emerging job opportunities and are also less able to move out-of-state to take advantage of these opportunities.

    When you combine U.S. demographics and job growth patterns with spending cuts to technical and vocational training and add in an opioid epidemic, it becomes clear why it is hard to find motivated, qualified workers.

    Additionally, it is expensive to show up for work—especially on-site, low-wage hourly work. Try justifying a temporary work opportunity against childcare expenses, transportation costs, and inefficient commuting options. Today, many temporary employment opportunities have a negative net present value. For individuals who own their own vehicles, driving for Uber or DoorDash may provide a better ROI per hour worked than a long unpaid commute for low hourly pay.

    Short-Term Labor Solutions

    What about all the displaced workers from the Retail, Entertainment, and Hospitality sectors who lost jobs in 2020? In theory, we could retrain them to enter Manufacturing, Construction, and Transportation. In practice, this will be difficult. Back in 2015, I analyzed payroll data and employee movement patterns for millions of U.S. workers. I found two interesting patterns:

    1. Voluntary employee turnover declines dramatically between the ages of 25 and 35
    2. Greater than 90% of employees who leave one employer stay within the same industry

    Essentially, as workers mature, they tend to settle into job roles and work locations that fit their skills and preferences. We can retrain an unemployed bartender to work in light manufacturing, but he/she will likely switch back to a people-facing service role when the Entertainment, Hospitality, and Tourism related industries rebound.

    There are also significant gender and diversity issues associated with specific vertical industries. Economic evidence suggests the COVID pandemic has impacted female and minority workers far worse than other demographic groups. Figuring out how to empower and train these displaced groups to transition into new job roles will require planning and sensitivity.

    What Now?

    Though these labor market predictions seem daunting, there are various strategies for staffing firms to overcome the labor shortage in the US. While we are all looking forward to a return to normalcy, now is the time to begin strategizing to win in the post-pandemic market.

    About the Author

    Christopher Ryan is Avionté’s Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer. Chris has more than three decades of experience of consulting, thought leadership, and corporate experience in Human Capital Management. Chris has extensive experience speaking on a broad range of HCM topics, including HR Strategy, Regulatory Risk, and HR Technology. His key areas of focus include U.S. Labor Trends, employment practices, and workforce management. Chris has also written and spoken extensively about part-time and temporary workers, employee retention, gender pay equity, emerging trends in compensation, U.S. labor shortages, and the economic impact of the Affordable Care Act. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago with a B.A. in physics and holds an MBA in marketing and management policy from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.


  • Friday, April 30, 2021 1:50 PM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    Submitted by TempWorks Software

    Although the technology has been available for many years, most offices didn’t take advantage of video technology until the beginning of the pandemic. Now it’s an expected and crucial aspect of any business’s communication strategy. Because of video’s ability to keep people connected while they work from home, the widespread remote work “experiment” has been a success on many levels and has ultimately helped save millions of jobs during one of our toughest recessions.

    The Benefits

    Video works well in workplace communication because of its visual component. Humans respond to visual images with greater interest and emotion. For example, a social media post that contains video is much more likely to gain traction than a post without any visuals. In the case of remote work, video calls provide coworkers a unique way to see each other’s faces while they speak to one another. And for those of you in leadership positions, video messages can help you remain visible to your employees.

    Video Fatigue

    Although video helps promote engagement, it can also cause exhaustion and information overload when used in excess. Zoom fatigue is very real and often happens when employees attend back-to-back video meetings. Video calls often burden users with the obligation of constantly looking at their screens. If we’re speaking with more than one person, we often have several faces onscreen demanding our attention, a situation that often creates overstimulation and ultimately burnout. One temporary solution is to use regular phone calls during certain meetings. A phone call gives everyone the freedom to walk around and stretch, as well as provides a break from screens.

    Use in Moderation

    The amount of information we receive from video has allowed businesses to thrive during the pandemic. For the staffing industry in particular, video calls have allowed recruiters to meet candidates face-to-face while in-person interviews were put on hold. Video is also a great way of engaging employees and clients alike. But like most good things, moderation is key. Too much video will overload consumers with information, much like a website page covered in advertisements. To properly engage your audience (whether your “audience” is a coworker, a client, or an employee), remember to pick and choose where to use video with care. The proper amount of video will pull in your audience’s interest and keep them focused on your message.


  • Friday, April 30, 2021 1:48 PM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    Submitted by Haley Marketing

    Branded social sharing images are one of the key factors in a successful social media strategy. These images are specially tailored to your brand and are always related to the content of the social post. Branded images are a great way to get users to engage with your social content while also reinforcing your company brand. When you add a customized design to your social images that includes your company logo and/or company colors, you’re able to highlight your brand in social posts.

    Why Should You Use Branded Social Sharing Images?

    In order to have a successful social media campaign, it’s important that you have a comprehensive social image strategy in place. As mentioned earlier, these images are an excellent way to reinforce your brand, but they can also help with engagement.

    We spend so much time on social media today; consuming such mass amounts of content can negatively impact our attention span. Luckily, adding images to your social posts is a great way to engage your target audience. These images are an opportunity for you to catch and sustain the attention of your followers.

    Studies have shown that social posts with images receive much more engagement than posts without images. According to Twitter, tweets that include imagery receive approximately 35% more retweets. Other studies have shown that Facebook posts with images receive about 37% more engagement. In fact, BuzzSumo found that social posts with images tend to receive about 2.3 times more engagement than those without.

    How to Use These Images

    In order for these images to be as impactful as possible, you’ll want to use branded images in most, if not all, of your social posts. Make sure the photo or graphic you choose relates to the actual message of the post. You’ll also want to make sure that the image isn’t too busy. Keep it simple!  Find a clean way to incorporate your company branding. If you include a font, make sure it’s easy-to read and legible.

    Above all, make sure you are consistent. Use the same version of your logo or the same general design for your branded social sharing images. If you choose to include text in these images, use a font that is legible and easy to read.

    How to Create Branded Social Sharing Images
    If you want to create your own branded social sharing images, you have a couple of options. There are some free tools online, like Canva, that allow you to create branded images. You can choose different stock images and templates, which you can customize with your company logo or company colors.

    Alternatively, you can hire marketing experts to create customized images specifically for your brand. Oftentimes, such designers are able to create your branded images from scratch and customize them using their professional software.
    Contact Us to Learn More
    Haley Marketing has the knowledge and skills to create customized branded social sharing images for your staffing company. Contact us today to learn more.


  • Tuesday, March 30, 2021 3:27 PM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    Submitted by Avionte

    We’ve heard a lot about mass texting in recruiting over the years, but the industry can’t decide whether to love this powerful tool for candidate engagement or avoid it all together. We wanted to end the debate once and for all, so we reached out to our partners at Text-Em-All to get their thoughts on the three most-talked-about issues surrounding automated messaging.

    Is mass messaging actually effective?

    The short answer is HECK YES. When it comes to candidate and employee engagement, it’s all about timing. You need to get the right message to the right person at the right time. Mass texting gives you the power to do that, at scale, with minimal effort from your team.

    The big “but” here, is that sending high-volume messages to your talent pool is only going to be effective if you do it the right way. According to Jonathan Melton, Account Manager for Partnerships and Integrations at Text-Em-All, your success depends on how the message is crafted, and who that message is sent to.

    “If you are sending a mass message looking for forklift drivers, make sure your candidate list is filled with those who actually make sense for the role. Nothing gets you candidates opting out of messages faster than sending them jobs that don’t line up with their skills or messaging associates who are already on assignment. Likewise, the content of the message is key. Our Staffing Playbook goes through all the best tips for ensuring your messages have the best chance of getting high engagement rates.”

    In short: You need to keep your audience in mind and build a message that targets them directly if you want to create an effective messaging strategy or campaign.

    Is mass texting legal?

    Once you’ve determined that texting your talent pool is the best way to deliver your message quickly and effectively, you may start worrying about the legal implications of sending mass messages. Don’t. Mass messaging is legal in all 50 states as long as you obtain consent.

    According to Jonathan, consent is the first, and most important step in staying compliant because “any automated messaging service that is used for business messages can only send messages to those who are expecting the communication.”

    So, if you’re purchasing lists from a third party for your messaging campaign, now’s the time to see if you can get a refund. These contacts have not provided your business with the appropriate consent and can pursue legal action if provoked.

    Obtaining consent from your audience is simple. Just ask. You can send them an email, give them a call, or have them fill out a form. As long as you can provide documentation that your candidate or employee provided the green light for your team to text them, then you’re in the clear.

    To sum it up: If a candidate gives you their phone number, you’re good to go. If you’re getting that phone number from anyone but the candidate, you’re going to be in a world of hurt.

    Another thing to keep in mind is going toll-free. This isn’t actually required to be compliant in today’s environment, but it’s a good thing to consider as you build your strategy. Phone carriers are becoming stricter with local number texting in an effort to protect consumers from scams as well as spam, and it’s only a matter of time before legislation catches up.

    Now, moving to an 800 number may sound counterintuitive if you want to create that warm, 1:1 contact, but according to Text-Em-All, there’s a number of big benefits that come with making the switch.

    “With a toll-free text number, the carriers put you on the high-speed routes with minimal throttling and text blocking.” This means you don’t need to wrestle with “batch texting” like you’d need to if you use local numbers.

    Also, with a local phone number, you can’t see if the text actually made it to the contact’s handset or not. With toll-free texting, however, “…you will know exactly which phone numbers received the text, which didn’t, and if not, why they didn’t.”

    In short: Going toll-free isn’t required to stay compliant right now, but it puts your firm in a better position to be compliant in the future. It also helps you deliver the right message to the right person quickly and collect data on how they engage with that message.

    What other things should I consider before hitting send?

    Building the best message and obtaining a consenting audience isn’t always enough. If you want to have continued success…

    • Do check to see what percentage of your database is landline phone numbers vs. mobile phone numbers. Landlines can’t receive text messages, so there’s no point in wasting valuable time and money trying. So send a voice message instead.
    • Do provide a clear introduction when texting candidates and employees. They’re less likely to ignore you, or block you, if they know who you are.
    • Do be direct and informative in your messages.
    • Don’t try to use a local line for high volume texting. You will be paying to send texts that the carriers probably block or throttle, meaning you aren’t filling your open orders as quickly.
    • Don’t send something out that the carriers could mistake as spam. Examples include non-branded shortened URLs, exclamation marks, $$$$, and all caps.

    To sum it up: Be thoughtful in how you approach your messages, don’t be spammy, and utilize a combination feature that will automatically send a text message to cell phones and a voice call to landlines.

    About Text-Em-All

    We aim to keep people informed when it matters most. We deliver personalized, informational, emergency mass text messages and phone calls fast—whether they’re going to five people or 50,000.

    About Avionté

    Avionté Staffing Software delivers a robust platform for clerical, light industrial, IT, and professional staffing firms that includes powerful ATS, payroll and billing solutions, and the first paycard designed specifically for the staffing industry.


  • Tuesday, March 30, 2021 12:26 PM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    Submitted by Two River Benefits Consultants, LLC

    President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) into law on March 11, 2021. Along with providing financial relief for individuals, state and local governments, schools, businesses and for other purposes, the law contains the following measures of special interest to employers and their employees:

    • A subsidy for COBRA premiums, funded through employer tax credits
    • Extension of employer tax credits for FFCRA employee leave voluntarily provided through Sept. 30, 2021
    • Expansion of employee earnings eligible for the FFCRA tax credit
    • Inclusion of testing and immunization as reasons for FFCRA leave
    • Extension of $300 increase in weekly unemployment benefits
    • Extension of weekly unemployment benefits for workers who otherwise wouldn’t qualify for these benefits
    • Expansion of subsidy for ACA premiums
    • Increase in DCAP contribution limits
    • Extension and expansion of the employee retention tax credit

    Action Steps

    Employers should review the ARPA’s provisions to identify any requirements and opportunities that apply to them. Employers are also advised to watch for official guidance on the implementation of the law.

    COBRA Subsidy

    The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986 (COBRA) allows employees who would lose employer-sponsored health insurance because of job loss (or a reduction in working hours) to continue that insurance for 18 months. However, the employer can require the employee electing COBRA coverage to pay the entire cost of the premium.

    The ARPA provides a 100% subsidy of COBRA premiums from April 1, 2021, through Sept. 30, 2021, for employees and their family members who lost health insurance due to the involuntary termination (or reduction in hours) of their employment. These individuals would be allowed to elect subsidized COBRA even if they had earlier declined the COBRA option, or had enrolled in COBRA and then dropped it. The subsidy would not apply to employees who voluntarily terminated their employment or who qualify for another group health plan.

    The subsidy is funded by the federal government through a refundable payroll tax credit. The ARPA contains new employee notice requirements for plan administrators; the U.S. Department of Labor will issue model notices for this purpose. Employees may elect subsidized COBRA any time from April 1, 2021, through 60 days after receiving notice of the benefit.

    FFCRA Leave

    The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), passed in March 2020, provided a tax credit for employers to fund two types of paid employee leave required by the law. These leave requirements expired in December 2020. However, the tax credits were extended through March 31, 2021, for employers that chose to continue to provide FFCRA leave beyond Dec. 31, 2020.

    The ARPA extends the FFCRA employer tax credit for voluntarily provided leave through Sept 30, 2021, and adds employee time off related to COVID-19 testing and immunization as permissible reasons for taking the voluntary leave. It also increases the amount of wages eligible for the family leave credit from $10,000 to $12,000 per employee, and it provides an additional 10 days of voluntary emergency paid sick leave for employees, beginning April 1, 2021.

    Unemployment

    The ARPA extends three pandemic-related federal unemployment programs that were otherwise scheduled to end in March or April 2021. These include:

    Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which provides weekly benefits to independent contractors, self-employed individuals and other workers who would typically not be eligible for unemployment benefits;

    • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which provides weekly benefits to individuals who have exhausted their eligibility for all other unemployment benefits; and
    • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, which provides an additional $300 weekly payment to individuals who are already receiving PUA, PEUC or regular unemployment benefits.

    Under the ARPA, all of these benefits are now available through Sept. 6, 2021.

    The ARPA also changes how unemployment benefits received in 2020 are taxed. Specifically, it exempts the first $10,200 from federal income tax for each spouse in households with under $150,000 in adjusted gross income.

    ACA

    The ARPA temporarily increases the dollar amount and expands eligibility for federal subsidies for health insurance coverage purchased through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Exchanges. Currently, the ACA’s premium tax credits are not available to individuals with income at or above 400% of the federal poverty level. The ARPA temporarily eliminates this income cap on these subsidies for a period of two years.

    The law also:

    Limits the total amount a household would be required to pay for health coverage through the Exchanges to 8.5% of their household income;

    • Increases the federal subsidy amounts available for lower-income individuals, eliminating premium costs completely for these individuals in some cases; and
    • Includes additional federal funding intended to encourage states that did not previously expand their Medicaid programs to do so now.

    These ACA changes are temporary, and will expire after a period of two years.

    DCAP

    For taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2020, and before Jan. 1, 2022, the ARPA increases the annual contribution limit for a dependent care assistance program (DCAP) from $5,000 to $10,500 (and from $2,500 to $5,250 for married individuals filing taxes separately).

    Employers with DCAPs can retroactively amend their plans to incorporate this increase, if:

    The amendment is adopted by the last day of the plan year in which it is effective; and

    • The plan operates consistently with the terms of the amendment until it is adopted.

    Employee Retention Tax Credit

    The ARPA extends the employee retention credit through the end of 2021 (the credit was set to expire in June 2021). This credit was originally enacted with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to encourage employers to retain on their payroll employees who could not report to work because of COVID-19-related reasons.

    New features of this credit include:

    Some small startups that began operating after Feb. 15, 2020, will be eligible for a maximum credit of up to $50,000 per quarter even if they do not experience an eligible decline in gross receipts, or a full or partial suspension; and

    • A new provision for “severely financially distressed” employers will begin in the third quarter of 2021. The provision will allow employers of any size to count all wages toward the $10,000 cap.


Click on the dates below for Staffing Online News archives from 2017 and 2018.  

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